Iowa State announced on Monday that new wrestling head coach Kevin Dresser has solidified his first staff in Ames with the hires of Mike Zadick, Derek St. John and Brent Metcalf.
Zadick — who will be Iowa State’s associate head coach – along with St. John, previously worked with Dresser at Virginia Tech. Metcalf previously served as the National Freestyle Development Coach for USA Wrestling.
Zadick, a former three-time All-American at Iowa, is the most important hire out of the three because he is credited for much of the success that Virginia Tech has experienced over the past couple of seasons.
During Dresser’s introductory press conference at Iowa State, he said that he felt he was too old to compete against his wrestlers during one-on-one workouts or practices. That is where Zadick comes into play.
At Virginia Tech, Dresser handled the administrative duties while letting Zadick run practices and workouts 90 percent of the time. Dresser was completely comfortable with Zadick interacting with and providing guidance to the Hokies’ wrestlers.
Virginia Tech’s grapplers thrived while Dresser and Zadick teamed up in Blacksburg. The Hokies finished No. 4 in 2016 and No. 6 in 2017 at the National Duals while also producing 11 All-Americans and eight ACC Champions.
St. John was a volunteer assistant last season at Virginia Tech. He won an NCAA title in 2013 and earned All-American honors during all four of his seasons as a Hawkeye.
For Metcalf, this is his first true big-time collegiate coaching job but he has shown a lot of promise as a coach. He served as an assistant at Cedar Rapids Prairie last season and was tabbed for the USA Wrestling job this May, but he will forego that opportunity for the Iowa State position. Metcalf was a Tom Brands protegé and won two NCAA titles at Iowa.
Looking at these three hires, there is a lot to be excited about when you consider three out of the four coaches helped rebuild Virginia Tech’s wrestling program.
One thing to think about: They all were middleweight performs during their competition days.
Dresser wrestled at 142, Zadick and Metcalf at 149 and St. John at 157. It will be interesting to see how Dresser approaches coaching the heavyweights this upcoming season with this staff. Maybe a grad assistant like Kevin Jackson had in Kyven Gadson last year?
The good thing about these coaches knowing the light and middleweight classes is that the majority of the talent returning next year for Iowa State is in those divisions.
The Cyclones return the likes of Daniel Vega, Ian Parker, Kanen Storr. They were all talented redshirts last season and are joined by returners Chase Straw and Colston DiBlasi, who both started last season at the light and middleweights. Iowa State also brings in talented light middleweight wrestlers like Austin Gomez (who is the No. 14 wrestler in this year’s class) and Ryan Leisure.
Expect the light and middleweight wrestlers to be the strength of Iowa State’s team next year. During the past four years at Virginia Tech, the majority of the All-Americans Dresser produced were a part of the light and middleweight classes.
Overall, it seems like Dresser, at least on paper, has put together an A-plus staff in Ames.